The Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has pledged his full support to the USI’s campaign against further hikes in student fees and cuts to third level grants.
Deputy Martin said, “The bottom line is that third level students have been betrayed by Ruairí Quinn who posed in front of cameras in the final days of the general election and made solemn promises to win their votes.
“Within weeks of taking up office, Minister Quinn began breaking those promises. He sanctioned not one, but a series of increases in the student registration fee. In his very first Budget he abolished postgraduate grants – a move that is deeply unfair and will have serious consequences for this country. He cut maintenance grants by 3% and he announced that he plans to single out students from self-employed and farming families for further grant cuts.
“If the broken promises and the unfair cuts were not enough, we now have a situation where the new student grant processing system is in crisis and Minister Quinn is nowhere to be seen. More than 50,000 students nationwide are still waiting for their grant applications to be processed. With no contact from the Department of Education, many students are being prevented from registering properly in college and consequently don’t have access to essential student services. Some have been forced to drop certain courses as a result.
“It is time for students and their families to stand up and tell Minister Quinn and his Government that enough is enough. I am urging them to contact their local TD through this campaign and make their voices heard.”